How to get started in Germany – a Guide for foreigners

In the following, you can find a guide on how to get started in Germany as a foreigner – whether you are in need of a visa, a job or you are already here and are looking for insurance and apartments, we have everything covered below. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any further questions – we are happy to help!

Visa

Generally speaking, everyone coming from another country within the European Union is allowed to work in Germany. Everyone coming from a non-EU country will need a visa – with some exceptions. An overview of all countries requiring a visa can be found HERE. As a general rule, the higher the qualification, the fewer the obstacles. This also applies to short-staffed professions, such as nurses.

The most common visa is the EU Blue Card. Everyone with a university or a college degree qualifies for it. This visa also applies to you, if you already have a job offer in Germany with an annual salary of at least €56.400. For some professions, i.e. in medicine or IT, the annual salary requirement is somewhat lower. Documents required for this visa are limited to passport, proof of degree or employment contract, and a completed application form.

Depending on the type of visa you qualify for, the documents that need to be submitted will vary. Detailed specific information is provided by the Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt). The cost for application & processing is usually less than 100€, regardless of where you are coming from.

Insurance

For anyone planning to stay or work in Germany for a while, health insurance is required by law – the choice of provider, whether private or statutory (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung), is partly open. However, students and employees earning less than €5.362,50 / month must use statutory insurance. It is considered the cheaper, more convenient option.

Common foreigner-friendly health care providers for statutory health insurance would be Barmer or TK (Techniker Krankenkasse). They also provide further information on the German Insurance System in English and other languages, so be sure to check it out.

Accommodation

Finding a permanent accomodation within the competetive German housing market can be exhausting. The most expensive area nowadays is Munich, followed by Frankfurt and Stuttgart. Here are some things you should know when looking for accomodation on a long term basis:

In Germany, renting an apartment is the standard housing concept. It is common to pay a deposit fee of up to 3 months rent upfront. The same amount will be given back to you when moving out if no damage have been done to the apartment. However, the shared apartment concept (WG) is very popular among students and young adults in Germany, which makes it easily accessible. There are two different types of rent: Kalt which means paying only for the room, no wifi, heating or water costs included, vs. Warm, where the rent includes all of those additional costs. Be sure to pay extra attention to these terms when looking for an apartment. The most common sites for finding accommodation in Germany are ImmoScout24 for apartments and WG-Gesucht for shared living.

Tip: On German websites you will come across the term möbiliert (furnished), which indicates whether there is already furniture in the apartment. On the other hand, unmöbiliert / nicht möbiliert (not furnished) means that you have to take care of your furniture yourself. So be aware of this terminology on the housing market.

Feel free to reach out with any questions here.

Here is the full guide:

Download “How to get started in Germany - Guide” How-to-get-started-in-Germany.pdf – 144-mal heruntergeladen – 3 MB

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